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Arizona Wins Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic

AP Sports Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Loren Woods scored a career-high 23 points as No. 5 Arizona beat game but outmanned Delaware 89-77 Thursday night to win the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic.

Woods, a transfer from Wake Forest who sat out last season, also had 11 rebounds and four blocks. He had 22 points for the Demon Deacons during the 1996-97 season.

Michael Wright had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Richard Jefferson added 18 points as the Wildcats (11-2) played with the intensity that coach Lute Olson demanded after a four-game stretch of sluggish work by his starters.

Kestutis Marciulionis, the tournament's top scorer, led Delaware (9-2) with 21 points and Darryl Presley contributed 16.

Arizona won the title for the 15th time in as many holiday tournaments on its home floor.

The Blue Hens had a five-game winning streak after defeating Alabama 76-66 in the opening round, but their inability to match up against the 7-foot-1 Woods and rugged forwards Wright and Jefferson was apparent early on.

Woods had 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the first half, when the Wildcats used a 13-0 run to take a 21-10 lead with 9:58 remaining.

After Billy Wells broke a five-minute cold spell for the Blue Hens, Marciulionis made two baskets, and Mike Pegues had a 3-pointer and two layups as Delaware closed within 31-26 with 4:35 to play.

That was as close as it would get.

Jefferson and Woods hit field goals and Wright made a free throw before Marciulionis made a 3-pointer for Delaware's last points of the half.

Over the final 1:33, Jason Gardner got a defensive rebound and raced downcourt for a 3-pointer, Woods made a free throw and Gardner pulled up for another 3 with five seconds to play, giving Arizona its biggest lead until then, 47-31.

The Wildcats took the suspense out of the game when they started the second half with a 10-3 run over the first 3:46, featuring a three-point play by Gilbert Arenas.

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